Monthly Archives: December 2012


26 Dec

A Christmas with Characters

Posted by on December 26, 2012 at 10:24 pm

The company that Jason works for holds their Christmas party each year in Disneyland. Every employee’s family is invited and the trip is completely paid for from airfare, to park passes, to rooms at the Grand Californian. Before you start saying your “no ways” let me assure you that I am not exaggerating or imagining. Feel free to begin muttering now about how your employer sucks.

Sleeping Beauty’s castle was all aglow with twinkling lights and fake snow.

Jason’s company hosted a lunch with yummy food and Disney characters one afternoon.

Since Jason switched jobs less than a year ago this was our first corporate Disneyland trip so we weren’t quite sure what to expect. Here’s the scoop on how it all went:

Weather: When the temperatures back home are in the 30s or 40s anything feels comparatively nice and 73 feels amazing! I wore shorts for nearly our entire vacation. Even when the sun went down and things got a little chilly I largely refused to cover my legs. After all, it’s not every day a Utah resident gets an opportunity to wear summer attire in December; chances like that are not to be squandered. One afternoon I even read a book by the pool in my tank top while the pervasive sunshine made me nice and sweaty. It was an unseasonal miracle. The only hint of winter’s presence during our trip was the darkness that hit suddenly every evening at 4:45. That premature setting sun made keeping track of time difficult but I was too overjoyed by the generally pleasant conditions to care.

Main Street was nostalgic and cheery.

Our hotel lobby was filled with a massive Christmas tree.

Parks: The Disney parks are always amusing that’s probably why they’re called amusement parks. We thoroughly enjoyed spinning on Space Mountain, shrieking on California Screamin’, giggling through the Pirate’s Lair, and plunging on the Tower of Terror. Jason and I have never been to Disneyland near Christmas so it was a treat to see Main Street decked like the halls and “it’s a small world” transformed into a winter wonderland. The Haunted Mansion Holiday, with its seasonal spook scenes, was Jason’s favorite out of all the rides we went on.

We scrambled around the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail until an accident involving my finger, Jeremy, ropes, and high speeds made a Band-Aid necessary. Blame shall not be placed here because it is clearly implied.

Silas loved this nameless dog.

Crowds: Saturday the masses were a mess. The rest of the time the hordes were manageable.

You’re never too big to ride a revolving sea creature.

I had a great time exploring the Pirate’s Lair with Milo and Silas.

Company: Jason works with a couple of our buddies, Jeremy and Adam, so they went to Disneyland with us. We screamed, laughed, and waited much of our time together. This was generally a good thing.

The outside and innards of “its a small world” were altered to reflect the season. It was an adorable change.

Jason and I hung out in California Adventure one evening by ourselves. We had a fabulous time eating hand-dipped ice cream bars and watching packs of people hustle by.

Food: On Disneyland vacations past, getting good food hasn’t been a top priority for us. That’s why I’m pleased to report that this time we got some excellent grub. We ate a yummy lunch at the Blue Bayou, that cool restaurant inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. It was a hard place to get a seat at. We made reservations weeks in advance and yet only a few timeslots were available. The food was tasty but not as gourmet as I was expecting. However, whatever the meal lacked the atmosphere made up for. With glowing lanterns hanging from fake trees illuminating an artificial sky, it was as serene as a mosquito-free fabricated swamp gets.

I like a wild ride.

Jason caught Eden giggling at the Disney cartoons playing in the hotel lobby.

Napa Rose, the fancy restaurant located at the Grand Californian, was another place we tried that’s worth mentioning. We decided to sample this popular spot even though we couldn’t get a reservation, which meant we had to sit in the lounge to eat our dinner. It wasn’t as secluded as a reserved table would have been but the delightful cuisine was worth putting up with some nearby neighbors for.

In my opinion, both of these restaurants are worth checking out if you happen to be in the area.

Duffy, Disney’s teddy bear, was as cuddly as his stuffing would suggest.

Few things are as glorious as basking by a pool when temperatures in the 20s await you at home.

It’s hard to find complaints about a vacation you didn’t have to pay for so you will get none from me. The weather was lovely, the company was more than plentiful, the crowds were mostly manageable, the decorations were festive, and the food was better than anticipated. Since our expense to amusement ratio was very favorable, I’d say we got a good bang for no bucks.

19 Dec

The Sum of the Run

Posted by on December 19, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Every summer Jason and I end up participating in quite a few races. We welcome these events because they provide good motivation to train a little faster or a bit longer. Plus, they are an excellent way to measure your athletic progress. While we were involved in our normal number of competitions this year, they didn’t exactly proceed normally for us. For one, Jason’s pace throughout the season was curiously faster. I, on the other hand, kept up my middling speed nicely until I hurt my ankle and then sluggish limping was the best I could do. Oh woeful foot! As the weather gets frigid and the races dwindle, let us look back on all the sprinting glories and frustrations that have come to pass these last months.

Jason zipped to the finish line at the Thanksgiving Point 5K beating out all but two of his competitors.

For years Jason has been able to outpace me on the track. Every step his long legs take requires two of my own. It doesn’t exactly seem fair but it does give me a lovely excuse for lagging. My quick hubby has nearly placed in several races before but he’s never quite managed a win until this summer. This year he was third in his division not only in the Thanksgiving Point 5K but the Lehi City Roundup 10K as well and then he won 1st in his age group at the Night of the Running Dead. What happened to make that boy so speedy? He got old. Jason’s last birthday placed him in a different age division, an age category where he’s among the youngest instead of the oldest. That bit of help was all he needed to become a leader of the pack. But hey, the dude finishes a 5K in about 22 to 23 minutes; I’d say he deserves some recognition for that whether he’s ancient or not.

We were enthusiastic at the Thanksgiving Point 5K from fresh start to sweaty finish.

Our racing plans had to be halted mid-summer because of my accidental ankle altercation. Ironically, I completed a 10K just hours before I tore my tendon and various ligaments for the second, and hopefully last, time. Leftie took me out of the competition circuit for about 5 weeks. My first race after the injury, Sandy’s Moonlight Run, was awesome because it started at midnight under the full moon but not awesome because I barely crept along its course with my braced ankle. Although I made it to the finish line, I was well behind hundreds of hardly runners. If they had handed out a prize for the pathetically slow but stubborn I definitely would have won it.

I promise I actually was moving when this was taken.

Thankfully, broken parts tend to eventually mend, even scarred silly parts like my tendon. My ankle comeback felt complete when I won 3rd place overall at Easton’s 5K a little over 3 months after I gracelessly wounded myself. Yes, I already discussed this win in another post but what’s the harm in mentioning it another time or two or three? Surely, it’s not an unforgivable sin to continually call attention to what will probably be the sole running triumph of my life.

Moonlit runs in the wee hours of the summer are my favorite so I wasn’t going to let a grumpy ankle stop me from participating in this midnight adventure.

That pretty much sums up the summer season of races for us. Jason ran fast. I ran sort of okay, hurt myself, hobbled along, and then picked it up a bit. We look forward to the spring when the world thaws and the competitions commence. Then Jason can once again conquer the other old men and I can further my longstanding mediocrity.

11 Dec

We Wish You a Hairy Christmas!

Posted by on December 11, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Mustaches were hung by lips with care in hopes that St. Nicholas would dig that hair.

Every year for one brief evening we welcome ugly whiskers and hideous jumpers into our lives with open arms. The Christmas spirit is, after all, about accepting the outcasts among us and what’s more untouchable than lip hair so bushy it might transform into a beautiful butterfly at any moment? Therefore, let it never be said that the Sabins are scrooges for not only do we repeatedly embrace the disgusting but we mercilessly force our friends to do the same.

The Ashleys dressed in ugly Christmas shirts instead of sweaters.

The ladies looked nearly lovely dressed in their attire glitches.

Yes, ridiculous comes in homemade.

Last week we held our annual Christmas party and the theme was once again unsightly holiday attire and revolting mustaches. Over twenty chums joined us, primed with their tacky sweaters and even nastier facial hair, as we celebrated the season of stuffing by enthusiastically consuming tacos from Rubios and cupcakes from The Sweet Tooth Fairy. Although our full tummies protested, we boogied away the hours after our meal with some beats from Dance Central and then proceeded to the highlight of the evening: the white elephant gift exchange.

Bart and Brandi wore the grossest sweaters they could find but they weren’t gross enough.

Kenny didn’t want anything to come between him and his clean shave so he opted for fabricated follicles.

Brett and Lauren forgot to bring the ugly to the party.

In our version of the white elephant game the gifts remain wrapped until the end of the frenzy. The uncertainty of what’s under the paper doesn’t stop people from picking favorites though and that makes it all the more entertaining when the present everyone’s been fighting over turns out to be a panpipe CD or a box of chocolates so old an archaeologist would consider it an artifact. The unbridled gift stealing this time took over an hour to finish in what was quite possibly our wildest exchange yet.

Jason's

Jason’s mustache was hideous indeed. It made him look like a disturbing combination of French king and country hick.

The men took foul to a whole new level with their knitted fineries, hefty hair, and flighty sentiments.

Jeremy had to shave his mustache for a business meeting a few days before our party so we mourned his recently deceased facial fur with signage.

It was a diverting evening filled with all the jovial overconsumption and cheesy superfluity you’d expect from the season. We hope those who partied with us enjoyed themselves and didn’t have too much of a lingering bellyache from the night’s constant bombardment of tacos and graphic staches.

Happy Mustachemas to all and to all a hairy delight!

4 Dec

Thankful Fluff

Posted by on December 4, 2012 at 8:15 pm

I love to cook. Sadly, Jason and I are not often home long enough for me to do any serious cooking these days but I always insist on preparing a number of desserts for our Thanksgiving dinners whether time permits or not.

I quite enjoy cooking even when there’s an overabundance of it to be done.

This year I made Mayan chocolate pecan pie, sweet potato praline pie with maple sauce, pineapple upside-down cake, and a host of from scratch toppings for banana splits, including marshmallow fluff. As you might have guessed from that long list, I was in the kitchen for 5 or 6 hours baking alongside my faithful assistant Jason. We didn’t finish until around 1:30 in the morning.

Obviously, I only volunteered to taste the from scratch marshmallow fluff we made because I care about the quality of my cuisine.

Despite our grogginess at the time of cooking completion, all of our food experiments turned out well. While everything tasted yummy, the marshmallow fluff was my favorite of our treats simply because crafting it was like creating a magical brew. It mystically transformed from a thin frothy concoction to shiny sticky stuff in a matter of minutes. Maximo Marshmallio Fluffius!

The Mayan chocolate pecan pie I made contained a few extra ingredients: ancho chili powder, Kahlua, and semi-sweet chocolate. Therefore, it was extra tasty.

Jason made a great sous-chef. He happily chopped, washed, or crushed anything I asked.

Thanksgiving was a little crazy for us this year, as always, with our dual family appearances but our pies disappeared quicker than we had to so yeah for that! Yes, not only did our goodies go fast but we were able to hang around long enough to catch a few rays at the park with my family, as is tradition, and chill with the Sabin clan until any and all spare abdominal compartments were overflowing.

After cooking for five hours our kitchen was quite the mess. But no need for disgust, we had it all tidied up by the next day.

My family always heads to the park after our big meal. Sunshine is a good digestive catalyst.

I feel I cannot boast of culinary and familial holiday success though without confessing my secret shame: I didn’t make my piecrusts. How could a food scientist not make her own pastry dough? You don’t need to tell me what’s wrong with that. Next year I vow to create any and all crusts. I would have attempted that feat this time but easily-bungled gastronomic research is best left to when you’re not feeding company. (I have learned this lesson the hard way over Thanksgivings past.)

We ate dinner number two with the Sabins. My stomach did not appreciate this double-supper design.

Being able to see both our families every year on Thanksgiving is a joy and a burden. We enjoy spending this holiday with every single one of our loved ones but it wears us out. We come home at the end of the day exhausted. I guess baking until the wee hours of the morning doesn’t help either but sometimes sacrifices must be made in the great cause for deliciousness. Even with my complaints about the fullness of our Thanksgiving, I must admit that between fluff and family I have much to be grateful for.